The top baby names for 2012 were a pretty unsurprising bunch: Jacob (taking the No. 1 spot for the 14th consecutive year), Mason, and Ethan for boys; Sophia (for the 2nd year in a row), Emma, and Isabella for girls. More interesting: the fastest rising names, which include Major, Messiah, King, and Maverick, reports the AP. One baby name expert says this trend of "aggrandizing names" is part of a long American tradition. "We've pretty much run out of presidential names, all the Jeffersons and Jacksons and Madisons," she said, "so we're moving on to the aristocracy, I guess, or to the military."
The data comes from the Social Security Administration's annual list of popular baby names. According to the list, the fastest rising name for girls is Arya—possibly inspired by the popular character Arya Stark from HBO's Game of Thrones? Next were Perla, Catalina, and Elisa. On the other end of the list, the names most rapidly losing popularity are Braeden, Yahir, and Kieran for boys, and Dulce, Mikaela, and Estrella for girls. Quirky side note: Messiah, Major, and King are all banned baby names in New Zealand. (Read more baby names stories.)